In professional wrestling, a great tag team pairs two complementary athletes in a way that allows them to accomplish things they couldn’t do alone. French essayist Roland Barthes called this “an ideal understanding of things…a panoramic view of a univocal Nature.”
When you and the Libby library reading app team up using tags, you can gain a greater understanding of your reading options and enjoy a panoramic view of the titles that most interest you. (Is this a pained metaphor? I just really wanted this tag pun to work; thanks for your indulgence.)
Tags are a flexible way to organize titles in Libby. For example, you can use a tag to keep track of books you want to read in your library’s digital collection. What might that look like, you ask? (Or I pretend you ask.)
Here’s an example:
Say you create a new tag in Libby and give it a name like “want to read.” Then say you find a title you’re interested in, but you don’t want to check out just yet. Now you can tap Tag, then your “want to read” tag, to tag the book with that…tag.
The next time you’re looking for something to read, you can go to your Shelf, tap tags, then select your “want to read” tag to see all the titles you’ve tagged as “want to read.”
A nice thing about tags is that you can have as many as you want, and they can be about whatever you want. You can make a tag for books you want to read, another tag for books you want to tell a friend about and another tag for books you need for a school project. You can also apply multiple tags to the same title; for example, you might have the same book tagged with your “want to read” tag and a tag for Halloween-themed titles.
Smart tags work a lot like regular tags, but they also have extra features. There are four smart tags, each super useful in its own way:
“Borrowed” smart tag and “Sampled” smart tag: These two smart tags have a lot in common, so I thought it’d be good to talk about them together. Libby makes these tags for you the first time you borrow or sample a title (respectively). This can be handy for finding books you’ve already sampled or read but would like to read in full or read again. You can also manually add or remove either of these tags from any title, and, if you’d rather not use these tags, you can delete them.
"OverDrive Wish List" smart tag: This smart tag is a boon for people who have used the legacy OverDrive app in the past; it lets you import all the titles from your OverDrive wish lists into a single tag. There’s a great how-to article about using this smart tag on Libby Help.
"Notify Me" smart tag: “Notify Me” is a unique smart tag. Instead of automatically tagging certain titles, this smart tag does something special when you tag titles with it.
If you add this smart tag to a magazine, Libby will notify you whenever a new issue is available. If you add this tag to a book or audiobook, you’ll be notified when your library gets another book by the same author. Libby will prompt you about this tag when you check-out or return a magazine, which is a quick and easy way to get started using this tag.
Tags are your personal way of cataloging titles in Libby; they aren’t accessible to anyone else. But what’s the point of reading if you can’t post about it for clout on social media? (Breaking through the confines of subjectivity? Better empathizing with other people? The flight of the human spirit?)
Fortunately, Libby makes it easy to export your tags for back-up or clout-chasing purposes. (I’m not here to judge.) To export a tag: go to your Shelf, tap tags, select the tag you want to export, then tap Actions > Export Tag. You’ll have a few different options for how you want to export the tag.
Table (HTML): Exporting as a table will output a web page that you can save, bookmark, share, link to, etc. This is the most visually appealing option and gives the reader a handy link to the listed titles. The table option is an excellent choice for sharing tags with friends or on social media.
Spreadsheet (CSV): This export option will give you the data from your tag as a comma separated list. It doesn’t have the aesthetic panache of the table export, but it does give you a ton of useful information in an easy-to-work-with format. CSV export is a great choice for making personal backups or creating a bulk list of books.
If you take one thing away from this article, remember that tags help you organize and easily find the titles you care about in Libby.
The best way to learn about tags is to use them. The next time you’re in Libby, try experimenting with different tags and see what the best setup is for you. With a little practice, you and Libby will be ready to take on the world (of reading).